A good business year for Hotelplan Group
The Swiss travel group Hotelplan Group focused on high-value travel and an associated improvement in margins in the 2018/2019 financial year. This saw the Swiss travel group achieve an invoiced turnover of CHF 1,396.5 million in spite of the challenging market environment.
Hotelplan Group continued to operate in an extremely volatile environment in the last months. The hot summer, the issues surrounding Brexit and the Thomas Cook insolvency were the major challenges in the year under review (1 November 2018 – 31 October 2019). Hotelplan Group's main focus last year was on high-value travel, which led to a decline in turnover. The travel group reported invoiced turnover of CHF 1,396.5 million (prior year: CHF 1,451.8 million).
Market environment remains challenging
The tour operator Hotelplan Suisse is holding its own in a fiercely competitive domestic market. The financial year was marked by the sunny summer weather in Europe and a heightened awareness of global warming. At Hotelplan Suisse, the focus in the year under review was on improving the gross margin, service quality, advisory expertise and more efficient risk management. This resulted in invoiced turnover of CHF 572.9 million (prior year: CHF 601.2 million).
Hotelplan UK had stiff headwinds to contend with in the year under review, as the UK subsidiary continued to feel the effect of the uncertainties surrounding Brexit. The insolvency of Thomas Cook, one of Hotelplan UK's most important distribution and flight partners, had a detrimental impact on the result. Hotelplan UK was nonetheless able to increase efficiency thanks to a tight rein on controllable costs. Invoiced turnover in the local currency dropped to GBP 235.1 million (prior year: GBP 259.1 million).
Holiday homes and business travel on course for success
Although the holiday home and business travel sectors also had to report declining revenues, these business units posted a very good result. In the year under review, the focus in the Holiday Home Division, comprising the holiday home providers Interhome and Interchalet, was on launching a standardised operating system. This yielded a significant improvement in margins. Invoiced turnover amounted to CHF 341.5 million (prior year: CHF 359.0 million).
The business travel specialist bta first travel was able to add prestigious new customers to its client portfolio in 2018/2019. The company also developed the "all4travel" online booking tool, which allows users to select and book core services such as flights, accommodation, vehicle rentals and transfers easily through all digital channels. The project is currently in the pilot phase. Invoiced turnover at bta first travel at the end of the year under review amounted to CHF 127.3 million (prior year: CHF 131.9 million).
Finass Reisen had a very successful first financial year under the Hotelplan Group roof. Lower prices for airline tickets meant a drop in revenue despite a higher number of tickets sold. Invoiced turnover at the end of the year under review amounted to CHF 43.5 million (prior year: CHF 49.5 million).
New strategy and an acquisition
bedfinder adapted its originally planned business model in the year under review. The start-up venture has withdrawn from the fiercely contested hotel-only B2B business and is now focusing on selling packages with white-label partners.
The dynamic German online tour operator vtours was acquired on 1 November 2019. The company generated a turnover of over CHF 490 million in the financial year 2018/2019. With synergy potential in IT, purchasing and sales, vtours is the perfect addition to achieve growth in German-speaking Europe and considerably strengthens the competitive position of Hotelplan Group.
Hotelplan Group will continue to hold its own
Hotelplan Group expects a positive trend in the 2019/2020 financial year. "We have started the new financial year with drive and vigour and the right course is set for the future of the Hotelplan Group. The acquisition of vtours is a significant boost for the beach holiday sector. And despite the ongoing Brexit-related uncertainty, we are confident that Hotelplan UK will return to a state of growth", says Hotelplan Group CEO Thomas Stirnimann.